The State and Social Welfare in an Age of Austerity

7 April 2022 - 8 April 2022


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Courtney Hallink (University of Cambridge)


This conference zooms in on four interrelated themes relating to the state and social welfare which are pertinent to today’s social and political climate: Covid-19; the future of work; citizenship and social rights; and health care. The onset of Covid-19 in early 2020 has only added to the increasing precarity facing people worldwide. Regardless of how we conceptualize the period of austerity beginning in the 1970s, social welfare systems across the globe have undoubtedly come under attack. Yet the onset of Covid-19 has pushed governments across the globe to adopt social protection measures, especially non-contributory cash payments, pointing to the importance of political will rather than financial ability. The challenges and inequities faced by health systems have been laid bare. Covid-19 has also highlighted our interconnectedness, while at the same time magnifying how citizenship operates as a form of social closure. These debates are framed around the future of work in a global context of surplus populations. The event will stimulate interdisciplinary discussion on social welfare, broadly defined, in an age of austerity from different contexts around the globe. 

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